What Do You Need To Know About The Menopause
The menopause is the natural process women go through as they reach a certain age and signals the point when a womans monthly periods have come to an end.
Although reaching the menopause technically means you have had your last ever period, we often use this phrase to describe the lead up to your periods stopping. Periods rarely just stop suddenly, many women experience irregular periods for some time. This might include heavier, more painful periods or lighter, less frequent ones these patterns can go on for a number of years. Every woman is different but you are generally considered to be fully through the menopause after not having a period for at least two years.
Alongside the often irregular periods, many women often experience a whole number of symptoms in the lead up to the menopause as oestrogen begins to drop, this can be anything from hot flushes to joint pain.
On this page I give a quick overview of what the menopause involves and specifically the effects it can have on the menstrual cycle. Visit A.Vogel Talks Menopause for more in-depth information and video blogs from our menopause expert Eileen.
Should I Continue Using Birth Control During The Transition To Menopause
Yes. You can still get pregnant during perimenopause, the transition to menopause, even if you miss your period for a month or a few months. During perimenopause you may still ovulate, or release an egg, on some months.
But it is impossible to know for sure when you will ovulate. If you dont want to get pregnant, you should continue to use birth control until one full year after your last period. Talk to your doctor about your birth control needs. Learn more about different .
You cant get pregnant after menopause, but anyone who has sex can get . If you are not in a monogamous relationship in which you and your partner have sex with each other and no one else, protect yourself by using a male condom or correctly every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex. After menopause you may be more likely to get an STI from sex without a condom. Vaginal dryness or irritation is more common after menopause and can cause small cuts or tears during sex, exposing you to STIs.
Perimenopause Period: How To Relief It
If a woman faces the challenge of how long does perimenopause last, she surely faces some health complications. In most cases, they are related to different forms of bleeding. However, women may suffer from many other health problems and its vital to know how to treat them.
Mind that women may overcome their perimenopausal symptoms using some lifestyle and home remedies. They are quite efficient and do not have any health risks. Consider the following measures:
- Follow a healthy lifestyle. Its important to get rid of bad habits, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Stick to a healthy diet and be physically engaged.
- Sleep enough. A healthy slumber is one of the best and easiest ways to recover from health problems. Sleep at least 8 hours per day to avoid tiredness, frequent fatigue, and energy losses.
- Reduce stress. Excess stress may provoke premature menopause and worsen its symptoms. Therefore, you should learn how to manage stress and relax. You can undertake various therapies and activities. Amongst such are art and music therapies, journaling , meditation, yoga, tai chi, and something of the kind.
If the issue of how long does perimenopause last leads to worsening of your health conditions, remember these measures. Some of them can be fulfilled by you right at home. The others require the attention of a certified specialist. Discuss your current conditions and the possible treatment measures to choose the safest and most effective ones.
When To See A Doctor
Speak with your healthcare provider if youre experiencing any of these:
- Abnormal length of period
- Bleeding with intercourse
While these are common during perimenopause and usually not a cause for concern, its best to keep your doctor in the loop and notify them of any changes. Anytime youre unsure or concerned about perimenopause symptoms, speak with your doctor.
Perimenopause: Its A Process
Officially, menopause occurs when you havent had a period for 12 months. Alas, its not quite as simple as, Now its here, now its gone.
Perimenopause, the stage before the main event, can take a few months or even up to a decade. On average, perimenopause starts in your 40s and lasts about four years.
During this phase, the ovaries gradually pump out less estrogen. Your reproductive system starts to run out of gas, explains Ob/Gyn Judith Evans, MD.
This means your menstrual cycles change thanks to your hormones fluctuating. Periods may get closer together or farther apart. Bleeding may be heavy one month and lighter the next. Eventually, periods will stop completely.
How Long Will Menopausal Transition Symptoms Last
Menopause is technically one full year without bleeding, and perimenopause is the stage before the final menstrual period, also known as the menopausal transition. Puberty and perimenopause are similar in that they both involve hormonal changes, and the transitions can take place over several years. Some medical organizations, such as the American Osteopathic Association, refer to perimenopause as reverse puberty in women.
According to NAMS, this phase can last four to eight years, and it comes with symptoms caused by hormone fluctuations, such as mood swings, poor sleep, and hot flashes.
The age at which a woman begins perimenopause can help predict how long the transition to menopause will last, according to research published in the journal Menopause in February 2017. The authors found that perimenopause lasted longer in women who started the transition at a younger age, and the women had more symptoms, such as hot flashes.
Can Menopause Affect Sleep
Some women may experience trouble sleeping through the night and insomnia during menopause. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This can be a normal side effect of menopause itself, or it could be due to another symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are a common culprit of sleepless nights during menopause.
If hot flashes keep you awake at night, try:
- Staying cool at night by wearing loose clothing.
- Keeping your bedroom well-ventilated.
Avoiding certain foods and behaviors that trigger your hot flashes. If spicy food typically sets off a hot flash, avoid eating anything spicy before bed.
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Is Having A Hard Time Concentrating And Being Forgetful A Normal Part Of Menopause
Unfortunately, concentration and minor memory problems can be a normal part of menopause. Though this doesnt happen to everyone, it can happen. Doctors arent sure why this happens. If youre having memory problems during menopause, call your healthcare provider. There are several activities that have been shown to stimulate the brain and help rejuvenate your memory. These activities can include:
- Doing crossword puzzles and other mentally stimulating activities like reading and doing math problems.
- Cutting back on passive activities like watching TV.
- Getting plenty of exercise.
Keep in mind that depression and anxiety can also impact your memory. These conditions can be linked to menopause.
A Defining Chapter Of How Long Does Perimenopause Last
This informative guide has answered the question of How long does perimenopause last? You know the reasons and how to handle bleeding and other symptoms. Therefore, be attentive to your body and listen to specialists.
How long does perimenopause last? It lasts from 1 to 4 years and if it lasts longer, obligatorily turns to your physician. He or she will surely know what measures to undertake to overcome any complications related to this condition.
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Why Does Menopause Happen
Natural menopause menopause that happens in your early 50s and is not caused by surgery or another medical condition is a normal part of aging. Menopause is defined as a complete year without menstrual bleeding, in the absence of any surgery or medical condition that may cause bleeding to artificially stop As you age, the reproductive cycle begins to slow down and prepares to stop. This cycle has been continuously functioning since puberty. As menopause nears, the ovaries make less of a hormone called estrogen. When this decrease occurs, your menstrual cycle starts to change. It can become irregular and then stop. Physical changes can also happen as your body adapts to different levels of hormones. The symptoms you experience during each stage of menopause are all part of your bodys adjustment to these changes.
Will I Start Menopause If I Have A Hysterectomy
During a hysterectomy, your uterus is removed. You wont have a period after this procedure. However, if you kept your ovaries removal of your ovaries is called an oophorectomy you may not have symptoms of menopause right away. If your ovaries are also removed, you will have symptoms of menopause immediately.
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What Age Is Considered Early For Menopause
If you reach menopause before age 40, that is considered premature menopause, says Faubion. This occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of women, she says.
Experiencing menopause at 40 to 45 years of age is called early menopause, and that occurs in about 5 to 7 percent of the population, so its safe to say that at least 7 percent of women are going to go through menopause early or prematurely, says Faubion. Menopause at age 46 or older is considered normal, she says.
How Will Menopause Affect Me
Symptoms of menopause may begin suddenly and be very noticeable, or they may be very mild at first. Symptoms may happen most of the time once they begin, or they may happen only once in a while. Some women notice changes in many areas. Some menopausal symptoms, such as moodiness, are similar to symptoms of premenstrual syndrome . Others may be new to you. For example:
- Your menstrual periods may not come as regularly as before. They also might last longer or be shorter. You might skip some months. Periods might stop for a few months and then start up again.
- Your periods might be heavier or lighter than before.
- You might have hot flashes and problems sleeping.
- You might experience mood swings or be irritable.
- You might experience vaginal dryness. Sex may be uncomfortable or painful.
- You may have less interest in sex. It may take longer for you to get aroused.
Other possible changes are not as noticeable. For example, you might begin to lose bone density because you have less estrogen. This can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and break easily. Changing estrogen levels can also raise cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Talk to your doctor about possible for your menopause symptoms if they bother you.
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What Causes Longer
During a regular menstrual cycle, your levels of estrogen and progesterone rise and fall in a relatively consistent pattern. However, while in perimenopause, your hormones dont follow a set pattern and your ovaries produce erratic and unpredictable perimenopause periods.
When youre about to enter menopause, youll ovulate less frequently, creating one of two possible scenarios. In the first scenario, your ovary doesnt release an egg, and the lining of the uterus doesnt shed, which causes a missed period.
In the second scenario, the lining of your uterus has grown extra thick and requires more time to shed. The excessive buildup of tissue means longer periods and intense menstrual flow.
Gradually, however, your periods will become less frequent and eventually stop altogether. Experts consider the transition to menopause complete once a woman has gone without having a period for at least 12 consecutive months.
Several uterine conditions become more prevalent during the perimenopausal phase. Be sure to pay close attention to any abnormal symptoms such as:
Have you noticed your menstrual symptoms growing more pronounced and uncomfortable during perimenopause? Consider the following remedies:
Hormone therapy is capable of reducing bleeding, shortening periods, and alleviating PMS by hindering the buildup of your uterine lining.
Over-the-counter pain relievers
What You Can Do
Period changes and physical symptoms related to perimenopause can interfere with daily life. Thankfully, there are ways to cope with these changes and live a more comfortable life during perimenopause.
Since perimenopause symptoms are unpredictable, its best to plan. This includes preparing for hot flashes by wearing light clothing, bringing extra tampons or pads with you, and drinking in moderation.
Additional treatments and lifestyle changes include:
- Keeping up with exercise
- Using a lubricant or vaginal moisturizer
- Starting hormone replacement therapy
What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause
You may be transitioning into menopause if you begin experiencing some or all of the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes .
- Night sweats and/or cold flashes.
These symptoms can be a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen, or a sign of increased fluctuation in hormone levels. Not all women get all of these symptoms. However, women affected with new symptoms of racing heart, urinary changes, headaches, or other new medical problems should see a doctor to make sure there is no other cause for these symptoms.
What’s The First Sign Of Perimenopause
The first perimenopause sign is typically a disruption of your menstrual cycle. For many women, your period starts earlier or later than normal. For example, if your menstrual cycle has always been 28 days, during perimenopause, your period could come as early as 21 or as late as 35 days. Some women start skipping months entirely and then experience heavier-than-normal periods when they do have them.
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Factors That Influence Menstrual Characteristics During The Menopausal Transition
Although few studies have examined factors that influence menstrual cycle characteristics during the menopausal transition, available data indicate that factors known to influence menstrual cycle length as well as the amount and duration of menstrual flow throughout reproductive life also influence population differences in bleeding patterns at the end of reproductive life. Mostly, research from SWAN and other studies has focused on factors that influence differences in hormone levels and hormone trajectories. That data is summarized elsewhere in this volume.
Symptoms Of The Menopause
As the decline in hormones oestrogen and progesterone during the menopause is typically quite a gradual progress, it often involves fluctuations along the way. As a result of these fluctuations, a number of symptoms can arise:
- Heavy periods, with a shorter cycle As a result of the fluctuating hormones, and higher levels of oestrogen your periods might become heavier and come more often than every 28 days.
- Irregular periods, lighter flow Irregular periods are common in the lead up to the menopause. Your periods may become lighter and disappear for weeks or months at a time
- Hot flushes and night sweats Hot flushes and night sweats are common symptoms in the menopause. It isnt exactly clear why this happens but it is thought that fluctuating levels of hormones somehow interact with the temperature control centre in the brain, the hypothalamus
- Low libido A combination of mood swings and vaginal dryness as a result of low levels of hormones can affect your libido in the lead up to the menopause
- Weight changes Sex hormones can influence other hormones which are important for regulating your body weight stress hormones and metabolism regulating hormones can easily come under fire
- Mood swings Decreasing levels of hormones can affect your mood mood swings or episodes of low mood arent uncommon.
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What Happens After Menopause
After menopause you will no longer be able to get pregnant and you will no longer get a period. If you have any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is not normal and can mean that you have a serious health problem.
You may experience any of the following after menopause:
- Low hormone levels. With menopause, your ovaries make very little of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Because of changing hormone levels, you may develop , including osteoporosis, .
- Menopause symptoms instead of period problems. After menopause, most women get relief from or menopause . However, you may still experience symptoms such as hot flashes because of changing estrogen levels. One recent study found that hot flashes can continue for up to 14 years after menopause.,
- Vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness may be more common post-menopause. Learn more about for vaginal dryness.
I Got My First Period Early Does That Mean Ill Go Through Menopause Early
I have many patients tell me, I know Im going to go through menopause earlier because I started my period really early, says Streicher. The reason women think that is because they think menopause occurs when you run out of eggs. This isnt going to happen were born with millions of eggs and many of those are never used. When you go through menopause is really about the aging of eggs and what causes them to age more quickly, she says.
The average age of menarche in the United States has gotten younger for a variety of reasons, but that hasnt made women go through menopause earlier, she points out.
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